Thursday 14 April 2005

Soft phones on steroids: Digital Dashboards

Melanie Turek, from US-based technology research firm Nemertes, has written some interesting articles and papers on range of technology issues including collaboration. One of her articles that talks about the power of "presence" in what she calls digital dashboards has been syndicated to a few publications, such as Network Fusion World and also Computerword. (The article also has some screenshots of a "digital dashboard").

I'm not so sure about calling a presence-enabled messaging application a digital dashboard, but her analysis of the importance of presence is fair:

"Presence has the potential to change the way people work - and how they communicate and collaborate with one another. Change will come slowly; the technology isn't as mature as it needs to be. The productivity gains are difficult to measure, and the cultural adjustments won't come easily from end users, but companies that adopt the new tools will be well positioned to support a dispersed workforce and leverage the benefits such an environment brings."

BTW In 2003 I wrote a short whitepaper about next generation voice over IP (VoIP). I noted then, when most people were talking up the costing savings of VoIP, that:

"It is quite interesting to compare next generation VoIP services with enhanced services that can be provided through Instant Messaging (IM) systems. IM has both the same synchronous qualities of voice combined with presence information that could also be utilised by VoIP applications. Presence is the awareness functionality in IM applications that tells you when another user is on-line and available. This provides the potential to build intelligent workflow systems that, for example, would know when a manager is on-line and available to approve an urgent request – rather than e-mailing the user, an IM agent can interact with the user to ask for the workflow approval. Simple Web services have also been built that utilise the IM interface as a way to interactively query other databases, such as a corporate address book. So it is possible that an IP Phone could dynamically interact with such a database to provide different information to the user."

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